US Senator Cardin Visits HCC to Talk About DACA Program
United States Senator Ben Cardin recently visited HCC for a roundtable discussion about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children to contribute to the economy and society by attending college, serving in the military, or working. The White House announced it would rescind the program, with a six-month delay to allow Congress to develop a solution. Approximately 800,000 people are now at risk of losing DACA.
“When I have to explain DACA in a single word, it’s ‘freedom,’” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “I heard that so clearly today from the Dreamer students at Howard Community College, who courageously shared their personal stories of amazing accomplishment. These young people are working multiple jobs, studying hard, fulfilling their end of the bargain with the American Dream. It’s time for us in Congress to hold up the other end of the bargain. We also need to realize that if the Dreamers were asked to leave, you'd be ripping families apart, and you'd be hurting our economy because they're working, they're trained, they've been well educated. These are our friends, our neighbors, and our fellow Americans who need to be given the chance to fully thrive.”
President Kate Hetherington thanked Senator Cardin for his advocacy on this issue and reiterated the college’s continuing support for the DACA program and students.
“Congress must act soon to protect the program,” said Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “I thank our DACA students for showing courage in such uncertain times, and I ask HCC faculty and staff to stand with me in supporting DACA students and providing pathways to success for all students.”
One of the DACA students, Martin, who is studying nursing, explained that he and many others appreciate that “DACA provides us the privilege to work.”
Jose, who has been in the United States since age 8, agreed. “My job allows me to pay for college,” he explained.
For Karla, DACA provides much more to her and her family.
“DACA means one word to me: a future,” she said.
Dr. Hetherington has added her signature to a letter that the American Association of Community Colleges is sending to Congress to encourage the protection of DACA. It states that every community college in the U.S. is “dedicated to the proposition that accessible, high-quality college education should be available to all those who aspire to it.”
HCC offers on-campus services and resources to assist DACA students. Students who have been impacted by the decision are invited to contact Lori Hartley, interim associate director of international admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.